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Brien Holden Vision Institute To Launch Institute-owned Commercial Entities PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Brien Holden Vision Institute recently announced that they are in the process of launching a series of Institute-owned commercial entities known as Brien Holden Vision companies, in Australia, China, India, U.S. and soon, in Europe, to bring to market beneficial, advanced products for myopia and myopia control, presbyopia, and for detection and management of potentially blinding eye disease.

Through collaborations with leading research and industry organisations the Brien Holden Vision Institute works to develop innovative vision correction products for the treatment of the most common eye conditions. It also seeks to apply its vision research more broadly in other medical applications.

"The Brien Holden Vision Institute philosophy has been to develop and license technologies that will improve vision and peoples' lives and from the revenues generated fund programs to develop further outstanding products and deliver affordable, quality vision for everyone…everywhere," says Professor Brien Holden, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute. He also says: "The role of the commercial entities that we are establishing is to bring the Institute’s and collaborator-generated product technologies to market. Brien Holden Vision Institute will remain a non-profit, non-commercial, science, translational research, licensing and humanitarian organisation. The Brien Holden Vision subsidiaries, however, are constituted and will be resourced to be successful commercial companies that will support the Institute’s goals through revenue generation and product delivery".

The first major product thrusts from the Institute to the Brien Holden Vision commercial subsidiaries are for myopia and presbyopia. The Institute’s second major product focus category is early detection and management of potentially blinding eye conditions associated with ocular and general health diseases.

Australian Diabetes Eye Screening System To Be Developed PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Australians yet only 50 per cent of nonā€Indigenous and 20 per cent of Indigenous Australians with diabetes are having their eyes regularly tested, and this has not changed over the past decade. All people with diabetes are at risk of vision loss but most is preventable with timely access to eye checks and treatments. It is essential to substantially increase access to eye checks and treatments for Australians with diabetes to avoid unnecessary blindness and vision impairment.

The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), Diabetes Australia and Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute are planning to develop a coordinated and integrated diabetes eye screening system for Australia to reduce the number of people with diabetes developing vision impairment and blindness. These partners are hosting a visiting expert, Professor Peter Scanlon, who is the Founder and Clinical Director of the successful English National Diabetic Retinopathy Program.

Diabetes is no longer the leading cause of blindness in the UK, and this has been attributed to the introduction of an integrated screening program.  Australia currently has no organised system for diabetes eye screening and is lagging behind the UK and other countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and Iceland which have national diabetes eye screening programs.

New Glaucoma Initiative TARRGET Launched PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 10 October 2014

In a partnership with Flinders University (SA) and the Lions Eye Institute (WA), Glaucoma Australia are funding the Targeting At Risk Relatives of Glaucoma patients for Early diagnosis and Treatment study (TARRGET), to increase knowledge and awareness of the increased risk of glaucoma to close family members of those known to be affected. The pilot phase of the study is planned to run for one year, with a further one year extension planned.

If people with glaucoma are diagnosed and treated early in the disease process, there is a much better chance that good vision can be maintained throughout their life. We already know that first degree relatives (children, siblings, and parents) of affected patients are more than 9 times more likely to develop the disease over their lifetime.

The TARRGET program will use new 'state of the art' diagnostic approaches to determine what the pick-up rate will be amongst first degree relatives, when starting with a family member who already meets the criteria of Australian & New Zealand Registry of Advanced Glaucoma (ANZRAG) for advanced field loss in a least one eye.

The investigators will randomly select 200 cases of open angle glaucoma from ANZRAG across the two study sites, and then offer a free comprehensive glaucoma screening test for any of their first degree family members over the age of 40 (younger in certain instances). The plan is to include all close relatives, whether they have previously been seen or not, and whether they believe they are affected or not. This should provide a clear answer as to how effective the new screening strategies could be if they were applied more widely.

A study such as this can help to advocate for changes to Government policy so as to improve access and affordability for effective glaucoma screening strategies.

Flinders University Opens New Eye Care Center PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 08 October 2014

Last week Flinders' University staff and industry stakeholders gathered at the Flinders Vision Clinic to celebrate the official launch of the new eye care centre, which was opened by Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, and Kaurna MP Mr Chris Picton.

The Flinders Vision Clinic opened its doors on Sturt campus in March 2014 and has treated approximately 600 patients in its first six months of operation. The clinic provides high quality eye care to patients who traditionally access public hospital ophthalmology services but can be effectively treated in community-based settings.

In addition to providing first-class optometry care in state-of-the-art facilities, Professor Barber said the purpose-built learning and teaching facility will significantly enhance clinical training outcomes for Flinders students.

Mr Picton, who helped unveil a commemorative plaque at the launch event, highlighted the importance of new and innovative approaches to eye care to reduce pressure on the public hospital system, and to meet the strong demand for optometrists in rural and remote areas.

SA Health To Fund Additional Eye Clinics PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 30 September 2014

After extensive lobbying by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia on behalf of patients, their carers and families, SA Health has confirmed funding for an additional seven eye clinics per month. This means that South Australians living with wet age-related macular degeneration (primarily older Australians), and people living with other macular diseases such as diabetic eye disease, will now receive timely treatment which can help save their sight.

Julie Heraghty, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia says, "Access and affordability to sight saving treatment via the SA hospital system for those with wet age related macular degeneration is critical. We must have a safety net in our public health system for those in genuine need. I am pleased Minister Snelling and SA Health have listened to community concerns."

The Foundation embarked on an ongoing advocacy campaign in March 2014 in response to calls from concerned South Australians unable to access timely treatment for their wet age-related macular degeneration through the public health system. Some patients were waiting up to three times as long as they should for sight-saving injections.

Professor Dinesh Selva of the Royal Adelaide Hospitals says the additional seven clinics will allow them to give the basic standard of care to patients. "SA Health is aware of the importance of timely treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration and the extra clinics will allow us to do this effectively. We could not have achieved this without the support and advocacy efforts of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia."

The Foundation had urged Minister Snelling and SA Health to work closely with ophthalmologists at the Royal Adelaide Hospital to find a quick and workable outcome, enabling patients to receive the timely treatment they so urgently required.

OBA and AHPRA Publish Health Profession Agreement PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 26 September 2014

The Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) have published the Health Profession Agreement that outlines the partnership between the OBA and AHPRA, and the services AHPRA will provide to OBA in 2014/2015.

OBA and AHPRA work together to implement the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, (National Scheme), which is the scheme regulating registered health practitioners in Australia, in the public interest.

The guiding principles of the National Law require the National Scheme to operate in a "transparent, accountable, efficient, effective and fair way"; and for registration fees to be reasonable "having regard to the efficient and effective operation of the scheme". One of the fundamental aspects of the National Scheme is that there is no cross-subsidisation between professions. This means that the regulation of each profession is entirely paid for by that profession's registration fees.

Optometry Board Chair, Mr Colin Waldron, said that it was important that the profession and the community know how registration fees are used in regulating the profession in the public interest. "We are accountable to both the profession and the community to ensure we provide as much information as possible about how registration fees are allocated to regulate the profession in Australia," Mr Waldron said.

AHPRA CEO, Martin Fletcher, said that the Board and AHPRA were committed to working together to ensure not only transparency and accountability in financial reporting, but also in the role both play in protecting the public through the regulation of the profession. "AHPRA and the Board work together to implement the National Scheme following the guiding principles set out in the National Law in order to protect the public," Mr Fletcher said.

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